Koholā is the Hawaiian word for the North Pacific humpback whales. The amazing sea creatures hold an important cultural and environmental significance for the islands. They’re referenced in the Kumulipo (Hawaiian chant of creation) and were revered by Hawaiian ali’i (chiefs) who would wear their niho lei (ivory) to symbolize connection, status, and mana (spiritual power). In some, they are considered an ʻaumakua (ancestor), and to others they are simply one of life’s most fascinating animals.
Every winter they travel to Hawai’i to mate and give birth in the warm Pacific waters. Adult whales will spend up to four months on Maui before heading back to Alaska, giving you plenty of time to witness them firsthand.
Here are a few tips on
whale watching in Hawai’i:
- Rent a stand up paddle board and glide on the top of the ocean as the whales swim around you
- Rent an ocean kayak and charter the waters as you watch for the whales
- Take a ride in an outrigger canoe to see the whales
- Take a whale watching cruise and wine and dine against a sunset backdrop
To view whale species that tend to stay further from Maui’s shoreline, fly to Moloka’i, Lanai, Hana Maui and Kahului with a Charter Plane or Helicopter Tour.